On New Year's Day in 1965, Volkswagenwerk took over Auto Union GmbH from Daimler-Benz and produced the first post-war Audi automobiles
, the Audi F103 series. In 1969, NSU Motorenwerke AG another German manufacturer merged into Auto Union, thus creating a new company, Audi NSU Auto Union AG. Later, in 1985, the same company was renamed Audi AG. After that, till 1992, Volkswagen AG used the acronym V.A.G for its activities. In Germany, people assumed V.A.G to be Volkswagen Audi Gesellschaft while in the UK, Volkswagen Audi Group was used for official communication.
Set up in the late 1800s, Skoda
is one of the oldest automobile companies in the world. Post World War II, when it came under Nazi control misfortunes sprang up. By the 1980s, Skoda cars became known in the anti way for their poor quality and unreliability. Skoda wanted to transform itself from being known as a cheap brand to a value-for-money brand. In 1991, VW took a 30 per cent stake in Skoda and educated the workforce to attain Western quality standards. Skoda now wanted to position itself within the Volkswagen group rather than just being a part of it. The Felicia was launched as an old-style Skoda, but enjoyed VW features. Next, Octavia
, Skoda's first VW-backed model was built in 1998. Unfortunately, it was a failure. Next came the Fabia with the advertising message, “The Fabia
is a car so good that you won't believe it's a Skoda”. The campaign led to remarkable results and by mid 2000, Skoda had a waiting list for cars. The demand for Octavia too increased by 29 per cent compared to the previous year.
In 1998, the Volkswagen Group fought a bidding war with BMW
and has been the owner of Bentley since then. BMW had recently started supplying components for the new range of Rolls and Bentley cars. Also, VW had the false impression that Rolls-Royce
was included in the purchase while it actually wasn't. BMW and Volkswagen entered into negotiations, and an agreement was reached whereby Volkswagen would manufacture both Bentley
and Rolls-Royce cars till 2002, licensing the name from Rolls-Royce plc. After that the right to build Rolls-Royce cars would go to BMW. BMW paid a huge sum to VW and licensed the brand from Rolls-Royce plc. But, the deal did not include any manufacturing facilities, staff, or intellectual property on present or future models.
Fiat orphaned SEAT in 1981. A year later, the Volkswagen Group took over on September 30, 1982 a co-operation as well as a license agreement with SEAT for the production of the Volkswagen Passat
, Santana and Polo
models in Spain. On June 18, 1986 after a purchase of SEAT's 51% majority stake followed later that year by the increase of its share up to 75%, the Volkswagen Group became the major shareholder of SEAT. In 1990, VW became the 100% owner of SEAT.
Lamborghini is a subsidiary of AUDI AG which is itself a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. The economic downfall that absorbed Asia in July 1997 led to another ownership change. The new chairman of Volkswagen AG, Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, the Volkswagen's founder, went on a buying spree through 1998, which included the acquisition of Lamborghini
. It was purchased through Volkswagen's luxury car division, AUDI AG. Lamborghini could strengthen Audi's sporty profile. However, Lamborghini itself could benefit from VW's technical expertise.
In 1998, Volkswagen Group started enjoying rights of producing cars under the Bugatti
brand. They commissioned ItalDesign to produce a touring sedan, the Bugatti EB118 concept, which featured a DIN rated motive power output of 547 bhp, and the first W-configuration 18-cylinder engine in any passenger vehicle, at the Paris Auto Show. In 2000, Volkswagen AG founded Bugatti Automobiles SAS as a subsidiary of Volkswagen France. It introduced the EB 16/4 Veyron concept, a 16-cylinder quad-turbocharged car with DIN rated 987 bhp. The concept car could sprint 0 to 100 kilometre per hour in 2.5 seconds, and could attain a maximum speed of 407 kilometre per hour. It was showcased at the Paris, Geneva and Detroit auto shows
Scania is a global automotive industry manufacturer of diesel engines, heavy trucks and buses. Volkswagen AG is Scania's biggest shareholder with a 70.94 per cent voting stake. VW first bought Volvo's
stake in 2000 after the latter's abandoned takeover attempt, increasing it to 36.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2007. It then bought the remainder in March 2008. The deal was approved by regulatory bodies in July 2008 after which Scania became a brand in the Volkswagen Group. The German truck manufacturer MAN SE holds a 17.37 per cent voting stake in Scania. However, Volkswagen AG also owns a 29.9 per cent voting stake in MAN, acquired in the first quarter of 2007.
VW and Porsche always shared a relationship. The first Porsche car in 1938 had used many components from the Volkswagen Beetle. The 1948 too, Porsche 356 used many Volkswagen components, including a tuned engine, gearbox and suspension. The VW-Porsche 914 and 914-6 were jointly produced by the two car makers in 1969. The two produced many other cars too during the later years. In September 2005, Porsche announced it would increase its 5% stake in Volkswagen to 20%. It again increased its ownership to 25.1% in 2006. On 6 May 2009 the two companies finally decided to join together, in a merger.